ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP IN PARTNERSHIP WITH A LOCAL HOSPICE: A QUALITATIVE CASE STUDY IN A RADIATION THERAPY CLASSROOM
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This qualitative case study focuses on providing answers to the following research questions. How do radiation therapy students respond to the implementation of an engaged scholarship partnership with the local hospice in relation to educational gains, experiential learning, transformational learning, and professional growth? This question is supported by the following sub-questions: a) What does the implementation of an engaged scholarship partnership with a local hospice look like within the boundaries of an undergraduate Radiation Therapy Program? b) How does this experiential learning project influence the students’ view of the role of the radiation therapist? c) How does this experiential learning project impact the development of communication and empathy skills in the radiation therapy students? In order to provide answers to these questions, data sources included; guided written reflections, interviews, documents, researchers’ log, and field notes. Narrative analysis served as the main qualitative research technique in order to make sense and report on study findings. Study participants are ten students enrolled in the Introduction to Radiation Therapy course at a large university located in Texas. Study findings are presented through critical events, learning to communicate with a unique population, patient needs, gained a more empathetic viewpoint, reframing their view of terminally ill patients, and changing viewpoint of the role of the radiation therapist. Emerging tensions are also described; pedagogical implications and avenues for future research are provided.